Ravenhill quintet get Emerging Ireland call
Five Ulster players – two of them capped at full international level – have been named in the 26-man Emerging Ireland squad for the IRB Nations Cup in Romania.
The capped players are full-back/wing Craig Gilroy and scrum-half Paul Marshall. A third back – centre/wing Michael Allen – is included, along with front row pair Callum Black (loose-head) and Niall Annett (hooker).
Annett, however, is leaving Ulster for Worcester Warriors.
Ulster backs coach Neil Doak will assist head coach, Connacht's Dan McFarland.
Emerging Ireland's first game is on Friday, June 13 when they face Russia at Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, the venue for each of their three matches.
Next up will be Uruguay on Wednesday, June 18, with the final game being against the hosts Romania on Sunday, June 22.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said: "There is a good mix of experienced and younger players in this squad. They will face three tough fixtures as Romania have already qualified for RWC14 and both Uruguay and Russia are in the final stages of the Repechage for World Cup qualification."
McFarland said: "I am looking forward to working with Neil and this exciting group of players in a competitive tournament. It is a great opportunity for players to showcase their abilities."
Emerging Ireland Squad: Forwards (15) Niall Annett (Ulster)*, Rodney Ah You (Connacht)*, Michael Bent (Leinster), Callum Black (Ulster)*, Paddy Butler (Munster)*, Bryan Byrne (Leinster)*, Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues)*, Sean Dougall (Munster)*, David Foley (Munster)*, Mick Kearney (Connacht)*, Mike McCarthy (Leinster, captain), Tommy O'Donnell (Munster), Dominic Ryan (Leinster)*, John Ryan (Munster)*, James Tracy (Leinster)*
Backs (11) Michael Allen (Ulster)*, Andrew Conway (Munster)*, Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Eoin Griffin (Connacht)*, JJ Hanrahan (Munster)*, Ian Keatley (Munster), Brendan Macken (Leinster)*, Paul Marshall (Ulster), Luke McGrath (Leinster)*, Johne Murphy (Munster)*, Noel Reid (Leinster)*